Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why's Answered...Part 2!

No, you didn't miss 'Part 1' - it was published over a year ago, while we were in the process of adopting Carter.  You can read those questions and answers HERE.

I decided to do an updated 'Whys Answered' because we still get lots of questions.  Maybe one year from today, I'll do another one :)  Or maybe I'll be so busy after adopting our sibling set of 5 that I just won't have time...

....oh my word.  Completely kidding.  Get back in your chairs, pick up your jaws, and read on.


+How is Carter doing?
GREAT.  Really, he's great.  He knows lots of signs, is starting to use words, and throws a pretty impressive tantrum.

+Does he understand English?
Yes, for sure.  He does NOT understand English like a typical 4 year old understands it.  And many times, if we use a command like 'Put that away' he will look at us blankly.  But he DOES understand basic communication.  It helps me to think of his 'age of understanding' to be the same as the number of months he's been home.  He's been home about 8 months, so I think he understands English as a 8 month old would understand it.  Does that make sense?  I think the longer he's been home, the more quickly he'll 'age' - and eventually he will be 'caught up' on what he understands.

+Does he sleep good?
It depends when you ask this.  If you would have asked a month ago, I would have said HECK no!  But currently, he is back to taking 2+ hour naps, and sleeping 10 hours at night.  Pretty sure we can thank a growth spurt for that.

+Is he always happy?  Because most kids with Down syndrome are always happy, right?
Ha.  This is funny to any parent who has a child with Down syndrome.  I will say that Carter has a very sunny disposition, and he's usually a sweet, loving, carefree kid.  Usually.  But Carter screams - tantrums - and cries just like any other kid when he doesn't get his way.  As long as we're talking about it - it's really not fair to 'generalize'.  Kids with Down syndrome are KIDS.  They all have different personalities - different strengths & weaknesses - and different dispositions.  Think about how you feel when you hear people generalize all women as being 'moody' - 'meant for the kitchen' - 'materialistic' - fill in the blank.  They're not all sunny, all the time - and it's unfair to classify them as such.

+Does he talk?
No, but he CERTAINLY communicates.  He continues to use sign language, and we're amazed how quickly he picks up new signs.  He will learn to talk eventually, but for now we're happy he's using signs.

+Won't using sign language limit his need for being verbal?
I'm no expert, and I don't have an article to back this up - but I'd say no.  The purpose (for us) in using sign language was to give him a way to communicate before the words came.  For us - sign language has done exactly what it's 'supposed to'.  He uses signs to communicate his needs.  Without signs, he would be constantly pointing and whining.  If moving from a Russian-speaking orphanage to an English-speaking home wasn't frustrating enough, not giving him ANY way to communicate would have REALLY messed with him.  Signing also helps him feel like he has SOME control.  He can tell me if he wants milk or water.  He can tell us that he wants to go in the car.  Without signing, that feeling of control would be gone.  And really, a four year old needs to feel like he is capable of making simple choices.

+Is he still in a crib?
Yes.  And he will be in a crib until we feel like it's safe enough to move him to a toddler bed.  He's not tall enough to climb out of the crib yet (and it still has one more slot that it can be moved down to), and when we did try the toddler bed - it ended with a little boy laying in front of his fan at 2am.  There's really no need for him to move right now, so a crib it is.

+Is he potty trained?
Oh boy.  Right now, the answer is no!  But I hope that SOON I will be able to say that we're at least on the ROAD to potty training :)

+Does he still eat everything?
Nope.  In fact, it's getting harder and harder to get Carter to eat new foods.  And some of the foods that he used to love, he will no longer eat on a regular basis (peanut butter, strawberries).  I heard once that kids tastebuds change every few weeks, but I'm not sure if I buy that completely.  I think a BIG part of this is that Carter has recently learned that he DOES have a say around here.  In the orphanage, there was no point in expressing an opinion.  Don't like the borscht today?  Tough.  You're eating it anyway.  But here, he has learned that it's okay to like some things, and not like other things.  So I'm okay with it.

+When does Carter start school?
Carter will start school this fall, likely only 3 mornings a week.  We're hoping he'll be in the Winneconne school district, because we plan to live there (someday...sigh...).  For him, we feel it's important to start him somewhere and KEEP him there, instead of starting him here and then moving him to Winneconne in a few years.  If he 'gets in' to Winneconne, he'll be in the same class for 2 years (with an amazing teacher!), and then will move to kindergarten.  Sounds like a pretty great start, to me.

+Will you be emotional when he starts?
Umm, yes.  I don't even want to think about it.  I know he's ready - I know he needs it - but that doesn't make it any easier on this mama!  Juli - don't make fun of me!  :)

+Do you think he's ready, 'attachment-wise', to be in school?
Yes.  Many experts say that adopted kids should be at home full-time for a full year before they start school.  Well, when Carter starts school he will have been home 10 months.  Not quite a year, but we think he's ready :)  We will also write into his IEP (a plan that all his teachers & aides will follow) that they should not give him hugs, etc - but only high fives.  This will help to solidify the fact that WE are mommy & daddy, and WE will be his source of love & affection.  I know that the teachers in Winneconne are already following things similar to this in other IEP's, so I fully trust that they will follow our wishes.

+Do you think you'll adopt again?
Yes, yes, and yes.  Jake & I agree that adoption is definitely in our future.  When?  No idea.  Where?  No idea.  Special needs?  No idea.  We're just taking things day by day, and we're sure that when it's time, we'll know.

+What about babies?  Can you have kids?
Ummm...I think so?  To be honest, we're just really enjoying Carter right now.  We are loving the fact that we can give him 100% of our attention.  At the same time, I'm not getting any younger.  I'll be 28 in September, people.  Wow - saying that out loud really jolted me.  Twenty-eight.  Holy moly.  Excuse me while I have a mini tantrum....

...okay, I'm back.  As I was saying, my clock is ticking.  We'll see what happens.  But in the meantime, I'm enjoying being Carter's mama, and nobody else's :)

+Do you still miss Ukraine?
So very much.  We hope to go back for a missions trip in the next year or two.  But until we can be there again, we pray for that country & those people.  Truly, a piece of our heart was left there.

+Do you keep in touch with Rachel?
Of course!  She's family!  Rachel still comes to help with Carter once a week so I can get some extra stuff done.  Her dad brings her in the morning on his way to work, and we take her to church in the evening where she watches Carter (so Jake & I can both enjoy the study) - and then she leaves with her parents.  I can't say ENOUGH about how awesome this experience has been.  She has been SO helpful (and she loves folding Carter's great is THAT?!?!) - and I really look forward to her days here.  Unfortunately, once little boy starts school she won't be coming each week.  BUT...there is a chance she will be able to help in Carter's classroom at school.  And that will be a great opportunity for her.  But it also makes me laugh a little.  I can only imagine how hard it will be the first few times she's there - because Carter will undoubtedly think that she's there just for him :)

+Do Carter & Moses get along?
Ohhhh yes.  I would say that they love each other.  When Moses rests his head on the side of the bathtub during bath time, Carter always has a kiss for him.  When Moses sits really nice next to the high chair, Carter always tosses him a crumb or two.  They are absolutely buddies, and any disagreements that they've had in the past have been worked out :)

+Is Carter attached to you guys?
Jake and I would both answer yes to this question.  Carter knows we are his mama & daddy.  He still chooses other people over us sometimes, but that just comes with toddlerhood.  He definitely loves us.  He definitely loves his home.  He knows we are his family, without a doubt.  We chose to 'cocoon' for the first 6 months or so after coming home with Carter.  This means that Jake & I were the only ones to meet his needs, give him love & affection, etc.  I know there are different ways to 'do' attachment, but this way definitely worked for us, and we would likely use it again in the future.  It certainly wasn't the easiest on US - but we believe it was the best for Carter.

+What will Carter be like when he's older?
I'd be lying if I said I never wondered about this.  I wonder about it often.  And honestly - I just don't know.  But I guess none of us know who our kids will be when they become adults.  Will they be kind?  Will they look out for others?  Will they be contributing members of society?  We just don't know.  And that's okay.  Much of the gift of raising Carter is found in the unwrapping, not the end product.  So we don't know what the end product will be, but we'll enjoy him where he's at.

So - there ya' have it!  Your questions, answered!  Now you know.....  :)

And just because I wouldn't want you to leave sad:


One Thing I Know For Sure: So enjoying unwrapping this little gift...we are so very blessed!


  1. Praise God he is sleeping better now!!! WooHoo!!

    Oh, your kid w/ Ds isn't happy all the time? Hmmmm...that's strange. Mine certainly are.all.the.time. (insert sarcasm...)

    Great post though! Love the picture! :-)

  2. what? your child with Ds is not always happy? I know mine is especially after Ive told him "no" and then he storms off saying:leave me 'lone! HAHA I think that is funny people still tell me that people with Ds are so happy. Sometime I will say "well you should have seen him five min ago":)

    As far as school. I won't lie I still get sad when school starts . The house is too quiet,but you know he will enjoy it and make tons of friends.

    he really sounds like he is doing great. Last thing.... Adoption: Ummmm, "my" benji is up for adoption and is a cutie hehe, there is my plug
    have a great day

  3. "+What about babies? Can you have kids?
    Ummm...I think so? "

    That totally made me laugh!

    "I'll be 28 in September, people. Wow - saying that out loud really jolted me. Twenty-eight. Holy moly. Excuse me while I have a mini tantrum...."

    Gosh you sure are getting old, you better catch up lady ;) ! Oh and Carter is still waiting for his trip to the Milwaukee Zoo!


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